Dec Yogi of the Month Photo

I was born in upstate New York and moved to Florida with my parents at the age of nine. I remember telling people that I would never move back. My fondest childhood memories are from that time in New York and, while I love where I live, there are pieces of me that miss “home” every day. Regrettably, my skin has become far too thin to tolerate temperatures below 50 for any length of time, so here I will stay. Also, I love the ocean and Florida seems to have an abundance of it—win!

I first started practicing yoga in my mind and with DVDs many years ago. I was in the throes of an eating disorder and knew yoga could help, so I practiced. At the time, practice meant groaning through 10 minutes of a 20-minute sequence, and then quitting. As you can imagine, I was not benefitting greatly from this. I began practicing in earnest just before Earth Day in 2013. My eating disorder was as controlled as it will ever be. I was growing tired of my current fitness routine, which consisted of miles upon miles of running followed by miles of biking. Though it had gotten me through my battle with bulimia, the physical exertion was not sustainable. I turned to yoga, and I have not turned back.

I started in the gentle and level 1 classes to get my form, function, and terminology down. The instructors at TYS do an amazing job in all of these areas. When I got a bit more comfortable, I progressed into more advanced offerings. Now you can see me in any mixed, flow, or level 2 class that my schedule allows. Confession: Some of my favorite classes have been the Yin classes. They are delicious!

Before yoga, I had quite a bit of physical discomfort. My hips and lower back were suffering from the intensity of my other exercise modalities. Yoga has helped to greatly alleviate these unpleasant sensations. I feel longer, stronger, and much more flexible. We all know that yoga is replete with physical benefits, but the emotional benefits are staggering. I have found myself more engaged, receptive, adaptable, and kind. I have even found the Magical Pause Button. No idea what I am talking about? It’s that thing you can push when something (a situation, a request, a confrontation, etc.) is hurtling at you and you feel the need to react immediately. I found the ability to pause, to analyze, and to decide an appropriate course of action. Honestly, it doesn’t work every time, but it has worked many times, and for that, I am eternally grateful.

Outside of The Yoga Sanctuary I spend my time as many of you do. I work to pay my bills. I raise a family. I worry about working, and I worry about my family. It is incredibly difficult for me to loosen the reins on responsibility. I am a work in progress, always. Along for that wild ride are my husband Patrick and our two boys Jordan and Joshua. Some of you have met them. As a family we have seen some very trying times, but I wouldn’t change a thing. They are my world, my sanctuary.

One of my favorite quotes is from Hemingway: “The best people possess a feeling for beauty, the courage to take risks, the discipline to tell the truth, the capacity for sacrifice. Ironically, their virtues make them vulnerable; they are often wounded, sometimes destroyed.” I find great beauty in truth. It is difficult to live honestly, but it is the only way to truly live.